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Understanding Medical Malpractice

Having your body harmed as a result of medical negligence can be frightening, worrisome, and seriously disappointing. After all, medical professionals are tasked with helping you, not hurting you.

Luckily, if you are harmed due to medical malpractice, you have legal recourse to help make up for the damage done.

Here’s what you should know about medical malpractice:

Medical Malpractice Defined

When you are harmed by your doctor or another medical professional as a result of a failure to adequately carry out his or her medical duties, it is referred to as medical malpractice.

Proving Malpractice

In order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, you’ll need to provide evidence of the following:

#1 - A doctor-patient relationship existed.

You must be able to provide evidence that you had a doctor-patient relationship with the physician you intend to sue. Essentially, there must be proof that you allowed the doctor to conduct your medical care and the doctor agreed to help you.

Essentially, if you started seeing a doctor and receiving treatment, it is simple to prove that the relationship existed. Issues tend to arise when a consulting physician did not directly treat you but still had a role to play in the medical negligence.

#2 - The physician acted negligently.

You may not sue for medical malpractice just because you are dissatisfied with the treatment or results you received. Instead, the physician must have acted negligently with respect to your diagnosis or treatment.

In order to have a viable lawsuit, you must be able to present evidence showing that the medical professional caused you to endure harm that a competent physician, in the same situation, wouldn’t have. The doctor doesn’t have to be the best doctor out there, but he or she must be “reasonably skillful and careful.”

Most medical malpractice claims hinge on whether the doctor was reasonably skillful and careful. Many states require that you present a medical expert to go over the medical standard of care and show how the accused veered away from that standard, but New York State does not have this requirement.

#3 - Your injury was caused by the doctor’s negligence.

Since you likely sought medical care for an existing ailment, it may be difficult to determine whether the physician actually caused your injuries (whether he or she acted negligently or not).

#4 - Your injury prompted specific damages.

Regardless of whether it’s clear the physician behaved in ways that didn’t meet the expected standards of care, you cannot sue for malpractice unless you endured actual physical or mental harm.

If you endured any of the following, you may have a viable malpractice lawsuit:

  • Physical pain
  • Mental distress
  • Extra medical bills
  • Lost work and earning capacity

Common Forms of Medical Malpractice

There are seemingly endless ways in which medical malpractice can occur, but most malpractice claims land in one of the following categories:

Failure to Diagnose

If your illness would have been identified by a competent doctor, or a different diagnosis would’ve been made, which subsequently would have provided a better outcome than the one you got, then you may have a feasible medical malpractice claim.

Inappropriate Treatment

If no other reasonable physician would’ve treated you the way your doctor did, you may have a case. Similarly, if your physician chooses the appropriate treatment but carries it out incorrectly, you may also have a case.

The Doctor Fails to Warn You of the Risks

The duty of informed consent requires that your physician make you aware of all reasonable risks associated with a particular treatment plan or procedure. If you would’ve chosen not to endure the treatment or procedure if you had known about the risks involved, you may have a case if the treatment or procedure caused your injury.

We’re Here to Help

If you’ve been injured as a result of a doctor or another medical professional’s negligence, you may have a viable medical malpractice case. Our team is highly skilled in this area of the law and has helped many other people just like you. Let us see if we can help you, too.

Contact our experienced attorneys at Cherundolo Law Firm, PLLC today by calling (315) 544-3332 or by filling out our online contact form.